Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 10 - Episode 20: "Prophecy"



Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Super Short Summary: Oliver runs into Kara searching for Orion's Bow while Clark and Lois get into some high-jinks when Jor-El decides to give Lois, Clark's powers for a day.

So this was the second to last episode. There is only one more 2-part episode after this one and it's all over. The end... Finish.

Now let me be clear, I liked this episode. I liked it a lot. There were many things to enjoy and I will touch on some of them shortly, however I just have to say one thing before I do.


Do you have any idea how many filler episodes with killer cheerleaders, kryptonite powered cars, and Lana girl power episodes I would have traded to see MORE of what they just briefly touched on here?

Toyman had his own Legion of Doom taking sight at all the heroes and that's it? No more?

Kara goes into the future to join the Legion of Superheroes and that's it... done! Seriously?

I get it they were setting the heroes up for their future and giving us a cameo of some of their villains and what not. That's good, but dang people! They had 10 seasons... TEN! They could have given us a little more than that. Seriously.

Talk about a major tease. I almost feel cheated

Ok. I said my peace about that. Be warned if you are waiting to watch it prepare for the ultimate tease.

Now anyway, I like where they are going with Oliver so far. He's going to have to fight that darkness off when Darkseid comes to town but at least now there is no doubt he is aware of just that. I am very interested in seeing how he overcomes it. I am glad the bow was destroyed because I did worry for a second they would use that as the tool to defeat Darkseid in the end and personally I want Clark to be the one to take him down. Not Oliver or anyone else. I'm interested in Oliver's story but not as much as I am Clark's.

I was rather miffed at Jor-El again but since Clark FINALLY just pulled the plug on the thing I am not going to get too much into that. I will say though I wish they wouldn't have treated an A.I. Program so much like a real person. I get what Clark was trying to do by bringing Lois there, and I do think her day in his shoes will in the long run make them a stronger couple, but the Bot is just a Bot. It's not the person nor the soul. The cold way it ran Kara out of town sure showed that. I really felt bad for her. At least they did come up with a way to explain why she won't be there in the final confrontation with Darkseid. Had they left her where she was before that question would have lingered. Plus since there is precedence in the comics for Supergirl to join the Legion of Superheroes in the future I am glad that is where she went. I really couldn't think of anywhere else that would have been fitting.

The story with Lois getting Clark's powers has been done before but that doesn't mean it's not a worthy tale. I couldn't help but think back to when Lana got Clark's powers and how she almost turned to the Dark Side and almost acted like a junky trying to get powers back after that. The fact that Lois at least initially just decided to enjoy the ride while it lasted was a great way for them to show her character.

I do think though the point of that whole story line really hit home in the scene outside the cafe on the stakeout. When Clark had Lois turn on the super-hearing and she heard all the cries for help. I tell you I got goosebumps. The way Clark remained strong and talked her through the triage of it and got her on task. I don't know if Tom Welling has ever looked more Supermanly than he did in that scene. If anything else, this episode is worth watching for that scene alone. In fact it's probably one of the top 10 scene of the season in my opinion.

Not sure I buy Lois calling off the wedding. I guess they needed some drama on that front heading into the final.

The Final WTF moment of the week (since I don't plan to do one with the final) goes to the writers. Why? What major metropolitan area has its water treatment system owned by property owners? I mean seriously? They are called Public Utilities for a reason. Now the city might contract it out to a private company to manage and run but what they could do with it would be very restricted and it certainly wouldn't be something owned by individual property owners. I am sorry but I just found that little tidbit a bit too much to swallow.

So a great episode with at least one fantastic scene, a few great plot points to set up the final and the future of the various heroes, and Lois getting a taste of what Clark has to live with. The tease might be aggravating but I still think it's a "do not miss" episode.

I give it 4.5 out of 5.

See you all after the finale. Enjoy!



Reviewed by: Marc Pritchard

The fact is they've been stringing us along this whole time. "Prophecy" is simply (and nothing more than) the final strand in the string that terminates, obviously, at the finale. And not that it necessarily needs to be said, but there is simply no way that this series ends without giving us a suited and airborne Superman (and probably a reconstituted Green Arrow and married Clark and Lois, to boot). It's inevitable. They know it's inevitable (that, indeed, the inevitability has been everything all this time), we know it's inevitable, they know we know it's inevitable...

And so on.

Too numerous, at this late, late hour, have been the foreshadowed instances of Clark Kent's inescapable (read: I.N.E.V.I.T.A.B.L.E.) destiny for them not to deliver. Remember the opening scene of "Salvation" and the future scene of "Homecoming" perhaps best of all. Or, more conclusively (if unsatisfyingly) still, those fleeting glimpses in the latest preview clips, that you actually have to pause to take their proper measure - one from overhead down through the Fortress of Solitude, the other dropping into the background behind a revitalized Lex Luthor - of our boy, finally, at last.

It is, to be sure, a lock. We know they know we know... etc.

So what gives with "Prophecy"?

I think, first of all, it's fair to say I'd never fully realized before this episode how thoroughly invested the larger audience would appear to be not only in the emergence of Superman but also in the Clark and Lois relationship. Invested, yes, but to the extent that the absolute last pre-finale scene would be the perfectly formulaic complication of the wedding (as opposed to the scene in the fortress where Clark turns out the lights before the camera pans over to and then holds for a moment on the suit, still frustratingly encased in crystal), no.

But it's ok... For, lo, I have at hand a copy of Action Comics #720, published in 1996, the cover of which features a diamond ring in its lower left corner against a white background, each of the visible facets of the diamond reflecting the familiar "S shield," while at mid-right reads "THE ENGAGEMENT IS OFF!"

So, comic book/source material precedent. All good. Right?

Actually, not exactly. In that issue of Action Comics, the similarity ends with Lois being the one to call off the engagement. The reason she gives is not that she thinks she's holding him back, though. It's that she thinks he's holding her back - or, more accurately, that Superman gets in the way of Lois and Clark, and therefore of Lois. In other words, she's consistently the strong, independent woman she was when she was calling Clark "a spineless, unbearable coward" way back in Action Comics #1 (excepting, please, all the then-still-to-come multiversal crises and revelations that would give us Earth-1 and -2 and whatnot).

In fact, given the decided emphasis on scenes from the wedding in the majority of as-yet-released stills and previews, I am forced to consider a couple of possibilities. First, that a lot (perhaps even a majority) of people really are really focused on the nuptials. So heavy has this emphasis been, it's gotten me to imagining that the producers are actually a bit resentful of the Superman obligations and that they wish they could just ignore that bit altogether. That, too, might explain "Mikhail Mxyzptlk." (Actually, no. Let's not be hasty.)

But, secondly (and more interestingly, perhaps), that the promotional emphasis on the wedding manages to serve the dual-function of enticing not only the network's core demographic - by giving them the ship-shippity-do-da drama on which they appear to thrive - but also the hard(er)core Superman fans by not showing us the stuff we want to see - at least , not in spoilers, in dribs and drabs on YouTube or even here on the Superman Homepage. We want to see it first set in sequence, in the larger story where it belongs.

Only then will the snippets do.

(In isolation, at any rate - snippets [of Superman] are pretty much what we've been subsisting on all this time, after all.)

It's the classic carrot-and-stick.

To which end, the complication here of Clark's ultimate destiny (the guise it will take, anyway) was also weak, though its oblique reliance on the same motif that overtly governs Oliver's part in the tale - namely, balance - does partly redeem, if only from an aesthetic perspective. Though the language doesn't explicitly say it, Clark silencing Jor-El balances his having finally said "Good-bye" to Jonathan near the end of "Homecoming" while, meanwhile, Oliver is literally having to balance the scales that operate the force field trapping Kara. And all of us - characters and audience alike - are being lined up in a kind of semblance of balance, an anxious calm before the storm that will be, now inevitably, Darkseid.

I can dig structured synchronicity like this. Clark has to "let go" of his past, just as Oliver has to "let go" of his self-doubt. They both have to "find the strength within" (which, reminding us of this, proved conclusively to be the only point to the otherwise long distraction that is the Bow of Orion, so easily and conveniently dispatched by Granny Goodness in spite of her admission that it is "the one power that Darkseid could not defeat"). Oddly, however, Oliver had never really before seemed especially self-doubtful, and Clark has reached this conclusion so many times now it's become embarrassing.

Anyone who walks away from "Prophecy" in genuine distress that Clark will never wear the suit or that Lois and Clark won't get married probably hasn't been paying especially careful attention to this show's modus operandi. Almost nothing that gets the kind of pregnantly dramatic attention that Oliver (with his blackened eyes, holding the gold K), the suit and the future of the wedding/marriage got at the end of this episode is permanent. It's how this show builds tension: artificially and in direct opposition to the very expectations they spend so much protracted time raising in us, so that if we are paying attention and have reached an understanding with this pattern, all we really anticipate each week isn't the release of the tension itself but merely the means by which the release will be effected.

No, everything has been pointing to the inevitable: the tights, the flights and Superman. (And, yes, Lois and Clark, together etc.) With "Prophecy," we're just being pulled in the other direction so the eventual transformation and subsequent dramatic climax will be that much more satisfying. Could work. But would work better if we didn't have the kind of prior knowledge, revealed in the previews, that specifically contradict the complications.

Still, you can bet I'll be tuning in. Seeing is believing, after all.


Stand-alone: 4 out of 5. Although most of the energy in this episode is directed at setting the finale's final stakes (Oh no, gold K! Maybe no suit! Maybe no wedding!!!), nevertheless the internal works worked. Welling and Durance are both on form (Welling especially in the first scene in the fortress and when dealing with Super-Lois), and Chris Gauthier's Toyman is strangely watchable, if unrealistically free to conspire and cackle in that cell of his. But the strength of the scene where Lois is learning about super-hearing and the one where Clark lets Toyman see his face (however preposterous the whole you-would-already-have-blabbed thing is between these two) and says he'll always be there to save the day, well, saved the day. Those (forgetting the absence of suit in the latter) were Superman scenes.

As a chapter: 2 out of 5. Too much superfluous complication with too little genuine forward motion, so that by the end of it I felt little more than deflated and weary. Punctuated with extra-strong moments, as noted, but otherwise amounts only to the casing that true filler fills. Let's just hold off on further comment until after the close, shall we?

See you at the other end.


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